Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland Niles has revealed that club team-mate Alexandre Lacazette is one of the finest strikers in the world and his hard work, along with his willingness to grow and learn, makes him the player that he is today. The Frenchman scored a wonderful free kick goal against Serie A side Napoli in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final to help Arsenal progress into the last four.

Although Arsene Wenger left the club in the summer of 2018, Unai Emery has been able to reap some of the Frenchman’s rewards for the signings that he made during the last few seasons of his tenure. Emery has a lethal strike force at Arsenal with the luxury of calling upon big-game and big-name players at his disposal. One of those players is Alexandre Lacazette, who has been an excellent acquisition ever since arriving at the North London club from Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais back in the summer of 2017.

The 27-year old seems to deliver at the biggest of stages and certainly did so when Arsenal needed him off late in the Europa League quarter-final against Napoli. The English side took a 2-0 advantage to Naples in the first leg of the tie heading into Italy and that lead was crucial because of Arsenal’s pathetic away record this season.

The Gunners had won only five games away from home before moving to Naples and three of them came against sides in the relegation zone in the Premier League. However, Arsenal managed a 3-0 aggregate win over Napoli over two legs with a 1-0 win in Italy. Although the scoreline tells a different story, Arsenal were on the ropes for most of the second leg fixture. The nerves were building at Napoli as the home side began to ask questions of the visitors. But Alexandre Lacazette was the man who calmed things down and delivered once again for the travelling support to ease their pressures.

The star Arsenal forward won a free kick about 30 yards away from goal and fired in a superb strike to deliver a massive blow and put the tie virtually beyond Napoli. Lacazette has scored some very important goals for Arsenal over the past two years and his teammate Ainsley Maitland-Niles only has positives to speak about the attacker.

In a post-match interview, the Englishman said: “I was literally right behind it at the midway spot and I just saw the keeper go the wrong way and the ball flew into the top corner. He is always practicing free kicks so I was pretty certain he would score one sooner or later, and he did it today in a big game.”

Maitland Niles went on to explain that Lacazette works on his game all the time and therefore people can view the results, “[He works on it] all the time, he is a player that wants to work and wants to win. He wants to win all the time, he is very passionate about his football and you could see today what the goal meant to him. [The result] felt like a weight off our shoulders and the team deserved it. It was a good defensive duty today from the top of the team where the strikers were all the way back to the keeper, everyone had to play their part and it was good.”